LONDON (Reuters) - Around 2,000 finance jobs are expected to have been shifted or created overseas ahead of Britain’s exit from the European Union, Reuters’ fourth survey of leading financial services companies shows.
The expected changes — 1,986 in total — are double the number recorded in Reuters’ third survey in September, but they are sharply down from the 5,766 roles then expected to be affected by March 29, the day of departure.
While most firms continue to plan for the worst-case scenario, and are prepared to move more staff after end-March, for now many are waiting to see how Britain’s politicians negotiate the country’s exit from the European Union.
Reuters approached 169 banks, asset managers, insurers, ratings agencies and exchanges with UK operations on their plans and received answers from 132, against 134 in September.
The numbers of respondents are different because some companies who responded in September did not do so this time, while others were included in the survey for the first time.
The first Reuters survey in September 2017, which collated answers from 123 firms, indicated 9,777 roles would be affected.
The latest survey was conducted by email and telephone between Jan. 3 and Jan. 28. A total of 67 banks responded, along with 31 insurers and insurance brokers and 29 asset managers, two exchanges and three ratings agencies.
Ninety of the companies that responded said they would have to move staff or restructure their businesses because of Brexit, although only 59 specified numbers. The rest said it would either have no impact or they were still deciding what to do or they declined to comment.
Many participants declined to comment on several questions. Some participants also asked for the information to be part of an aggregate only, which is why Reuters has not published the complete data.
The respondents included the 20 investment banks that earned the most fees from investment banking in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in 2018, according to Refinitiv data.
The insurers who responded to the survey included the largest listed insurers in Britain, along with large European Union (EU) and non-EU insurers operating in Britain, major insurance brokers and listed and unlisted insurers with an international focus, such as those operating in the Lloyd’s of London market.
The asset managers who responded included many of the global managers who use the UK as a base in Europe, as well as most of the leading British firms.
Survey participants were asked if Brexit would mean jobs moved or created in the European Union by March 29, 2019, how many had already been moved or created, and what other steps they were taking.
They were also asked how many UK employees they currently have, whether they had moved any capital to new locations and how much it had cost them so far to plan for Brexit.
Only seven companies gave a figure for Brexit planning costs. One bank said it had spent $100 million, while a second had spent 28 million pounds, but said it could rise to 300 million pounds.
Three insurers gave figures ranging from 150,000 pounds to 4 million pounds. The two asset managers who responded said costs so far were 1 million pounds and 2.5 million pounds, respectively.
Two insurers said they had moved capital, totaling 210 million euros and $50 million, respectively.
The UK employee numbers totaled 481,220 and included 359,357 employed by banks, 91,753 by insurers and 28,844 by asset managers.
The 35 banks which gave figures when asked the question about how many jobs would be affected by Brexit said they expected 1,350 jobs to be moved or created in the EU by the end of March.
Twenty-one insurers answered the question by saying they expected 233 roles to be moved or created elsewhere in the EU, of which 96 had already been established.
Seventeen asset managers which gave information saw 381 jobs in total being moved or created. However, just 43 roles had already been created or moved, with many still hedging their bets.
Last week the EU’s markets watchdog said it had approved an agreement on co-operating with Britain after it leaves the bloc, removing a major risk of disruption for cross-border funds.
The agreement means that UK-based asset managers that make investment picks for funds listed in Dublin, Luxembourg or elsewhere in the EU can continue to do from Britain even after a no-deal Brexit.
There are 317 banks registered in Britain, according to the Bank of England, although that includes the domestic-focused subsidiaries of many larger banks as well as many smaller lenders that earn the bulk of their revenue in Britain so won’t be affected so much by Brexit.
There are 443 UK authorized insurers, according to the Bank of England, though many larger firms have more than one authorization. Many UK insurers also have a purely domestic focus, insurance specialists say.
Reporting by Simon Jessop, Andrew MacAskill and Jonathan Saul in London, Noor Zainab Hussain and Arathy S Nair in Bangalore, Suzanne Barlyn in New York. Editing by Carmel Crimmins